Suppose you have a pebble in your shoe. You go to the mall, you walk around shopping, you stop by the food court–but still there’s the pebble in your shoe. You do what you do, but part of your mind remains on this pebble.
For many Americans, their work email is this pebble.
Do you check your work email when:
- You take a sick day
- It’s after working hours
- Your boss emails you on the weekend
- You’re checking your personal email anyway, so you might as well
If you answered yes to any of the above, you–like 52% of Americans–check your email too much. New studies show that being “off” work doesn’t really count when you continue to monitor your office email. Cortisol is a stress hormone your body produces when engaging in workplace activities. Even when you’re home for the weekend, your body continues to produce cortisol so long as you continue to check in with work via email. This means a lot of Americans are more or less “on call” around the clock, even when they’re out to dinner with friends or taking the dog to the park.
Trust me: Whatever your job, it isn’t worth taking to the dog park with you. Just ask your dog. He sees you throw the Frisbee, but he knows you’re not fully committed. Because no one enjoys eating a Cinnabon while shoe-pebbled, and no one likes throwing a Frisbee when they’re waiting for Janet’s memo about the company Arbor Day picnic.
Try separate inboxes for personal and work. Don’t even tempt yourself by looking at off-hours subject lines. You think you want to know, but you don’t. How often does great news come via your office email? That Arbor Day picnic memo will still be waiting for you when you show up Monday morning, fresh from your relaxing weekend.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.